The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association is the fitness industry's only global trade association representing over 10,000 for profit health and fitness facilities and over 600 supplier companies in 75 countries.



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Congress attendee: be sure to take a lot home with you

If you have been to IHRSA events before, you know that the attendees aren’t only fitness club owners, managers and employees, or those in the business of supplying clubs with their equipment. 

Those who work in the industry in other ways – like janitorial services, consultants in sales and marketing, or even those in the media attend to hear about the latest trends, to network, or gather new ideas to bring back to clients. 

Maria Angeles de Santiago Restoy is the founder of Management Around Sports in Spain. She works with health and fitness facilities with sales, marketing, training, recruitment, design and research. 

She is an avid IHRSA supporter and partner, but more importantly attending events like European Congress, and the International Convention & Trade Show in the spring, she, just like those who work inside the clubs, can take home with her some very valuable information that she can in turn pass on to her clients. 

As an IHRSA partner Restoy organizes tours for Spanish club operators for more than a decade. Let’s take a tour of her answers to questions about the upcoming European Congress, in Vienna, Austria, from Nov. 1-4. 


More info and registration

1. What is your favorite part of the Congress?

The key speakers and the networking, those are the main points that make the Congress different to the other formation forums, to which I go frequently.

2. What are you looking forward about the upcoming event in Vienna?

I think the market is very convulsed (troubled) and the chance to debate with other operators and analyze new models would be a differentiating point.

3. What is one good idea you got from a past Congress?

In the past congress in Milan we had very interesting experiences with the attendances but, without any doubt, being able to listen such a relevant speaker as Álvarez de Mon was an excellent opportunity.

3a.  What are some of the ideas Spanish club operators have gotten from a past Congress? 

The approaches to themes as the loyalty and how the industry is polarizing the message between low-cost and differential services was the most appellant idea.On the other hand, the importance of the creation of the brand and its valuation was a very clear message. 

But, without any doubt, one of the things the assistants valued the most is the tour of the facilities. You can see different business models, as the sports club linked to a school showed. You can also appreciate new designs for the current times. If we sum to this the innovating concepts in contracts for the clients (annual prepaid ones with personal training included), new ideas, new concept s… it is a breath of fresh air.

4. Do you have a message for the club operators who may be thinking about coming but haven’t decided yet?

I am aware that right now the managers are very busy, and even in my country, Spain, much more. However, a trip like this it is nothing but a chance to breath fresh air, analyze new tendencies, and have a new perspective for been able to offering to their employees new work alternatives.

5. How is this event different from others you have attended? 

It is an European event that gives us the chance to access to operators all along the continent. The European vision is similar among their members, and their issues have union points that makes the event very enriching.

6. What are your expecting from the keynote speaker, Shaun Smith? The contents of this speaker are, without any doubt, very interesting, but the thinking we can get afterwards are much more important. After a key speaker you have to process the contents, adapt it to your industry, to your business, to your day-to-day.

Smith can be very inspiring but, without a posterior “adaptation” work, it can be useless.  Any speaker give us a magic peel, they just open our doors. It is in our hands to decide to go through it or not. Shaun Smith is valued for showing roads that have been successful for some people, but this doesn’t mean that we have to follow them, each one has to carry on the strategy as their consider it best for their business.

This is the second of two Q&As with prominent European Congress attendees. For the Q&A with Anastasia Yusina, click here.



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